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US secretary Chao approves $9.85M grant for Indiana port

U.S. secretary of transportation Elaine Chao has confirmed Nov. 9 that the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will receive $9.85 million funding as part of the nation’s Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-Term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grants for 2017.

In August 2017, secretary Chao recommended the port’s grant approval to Congress for a 60-day review period. After consideration, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works also gave their approval. The $9.85 million funding will subsidize a part of the port’s $19.7 million expansion that will increase cargo handling capacity as well as multimodal capabilities

The expansion will include construction of a 2.3-acre cargo terminal equipped with multimodal connections allowing cargo transfers between vessels, railcars and trucks. The port’s existing 14-mile rail network will also be extended for another 4.4 miles. Two new rail yards will be added, providing storage for a total of 165 rail cars. The west dock will be expanded with 1,200 ft. more of dock space and a new 6-acre truck marshalling yard will be constructed to relieve traffic congestion on port roads.

“With these investments, companies using water to move cargo will have new options for their inbound raw materials, outbound finished products and transferring shipments between ships and barges, rail cars and trucks,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper.

With Indiana being the largest steel-producing region in North America, major cargoes handled by the port include steel, coal, limestone, fertilizer and grain. Each year, it brings $4.9 billion worth of revenue into the state and supports more than 39,000 employees.

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